Local Timbers on the rise
In my predictions for 2022 I stated that there would be more focus on domestic lumber. Today I dive deeper into that and look at how local timbers present opportunities and challenges to the commercial lumber market as well as the individual hobbyist woodworker.
As we look to source lumber I urge those using exotic species to consider what aspects of those species make them good for your particular application. Then examine what native timbers might be able to fill in. Don't let availability hinder you at first but just explore the local species options. You may be surprised that there are a great many species growing on your doorstep that could fit the bill. The challenge that lies ahead however is sourcing those species and building a market around them so local mills will create boards instead of grinding them up for mulch or automatically declaring a species as "trash wood" or "not worth sawing".
Special thanks to Larry from bringing the Shop Stool podcast to my attention and go take a listen to episode 68 for a great discussion on native timbers to Australia that plays nicely into what I'm discussing in this episode. Particularly minutes 44-52.
Also thanks to Michael for his research on Sweet Gum in the San Diego area with regards to the early railroad industry. Another great example of native timbers being dismissed as not worthy when there could be some viable lumber options right under our noses.
Rising Lumber Prices in Reaction to the Ukrainian War
This wouldn't be the Lumber Industry Update if we didn't discuss the rising prices again. We have discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on the lumber markets considering Russia is the largest exporter of wood products in the world. Specifically their plywood comprises 10% of the overall global market. But we need to look closer at the types of wood products they export and see that while a large volume, it is a specific product. Primarily softwoods for framing lumber and Birch which mostly goes into plywood manufacture. These products fill a narrow window of the overall lumber industry and it could be a good thing in the long run to help bolster the local infrastructure to produce a greater volume of these "shop grade" materials.